The Kadas Opening is a rare (and quite bad!) chess opening beginning with the first move 1. h4


Kadas Opening


White decides to violate all chess opening principles known to man, and instead push a pawn on the side of the board! It’s no surprise that the Kadas Opening is essentially never seen in master-level chess.


While I would never recommend playing the Kadas Opening to anyone, you might face it once or twice in your chess career – so read on to learn how to combat this rare opening choice!

Why is the Kadas Opening so bad?

Every chess player is taught the same fundamental opening principles as a beginner. Control space in the center. Get castled early. Develop your pieces.

The Kadas Opening doesn’t only fail to work towards any of these goals – it’s actually counterproductive!

– The move 1. h4 doesn’t control any valuable squares in the center, and allows black to grab central space after 1…e5 or 1…d5

– This move doesn’t help white to develop any pieces. You could argue that the h1-rook benefits, but of course this rook is never heading to h3 in the opening! (1. h4 d5 2. Rh3? Bxh3 is the so-called “Kadas Opening: Beginner’s Trap,” but it looks to be more of a blunder than a trap!

Kadas Opening Beginners Trap

– This opening makes it more difficult for white to castle kingside

Quite an impressive list of negatives, with no benefits to compensate!

Combating the Kadas Opening

If someone plays this opening against you, the first step is not to panic!

I see this mindset a lot, and it always perplexes me. “I’ve spent countless hours preparing my favorite 16-move line in the Ruy Lopez, and now my opponent surprises me on move one and I’m already on my own! This opening preparation stuff is useless!”

This line of thinking makes no sense! You’re always going to be “on your own” eventually, no matter how much opening preparation you do. Wouldn’t you rather be “on your own” because your opponent played a bad move, than because they knew more than you about the opening they chose? I know I rather would be!

There’s no sense in doing any deep preparation on the Kadas Opening – it’s too rare, and too bad! All you need to do is follow the opening principles.

Simply respond with 1…e5 or 1…d5. For example, after 1. h4 d5:

Sensible Kadas

White could come to their senses and play 2. d4, but now you’re simply playing a weird Queen’s Pawn Opening where white’s h2-h4 move makes no sense. It’s almost like you’ve been gifted the white pieces when you were scheduled to play black!

White could continue their madness with 2. h5?!, which I’ve sometimes seen in blitz. This is certainly nothing to fear – check out the video above for a sample line showing how to handle this variation!

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